What is your workout background and what made you start working out?
My boyfriend Hunter (who is now my husband) had played sports throughout high school and had already been going to the gym, therefore he always had fitness magazines lying around the house. I would always look through them and see all the female fitness models and think to myself how amazing they looked. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or felt, so I decided to join Hunter and start training. I had been training around six months before I went to my first Olympia expo back in 2010. I was so in awe and inspired when I left, I decided to commit to the gym six days a week. I had already been training for about five years before I decided to start a fitness page and never dreamed it would change my life forever.
Your Instagram account @casssmartin is a huge success, how did it all start?
I honestly cannot tell you. I just remember wanting to start a page to post some lifts because I followed some other pages and thought it would be fun to film lifts. I had never had any social media or posted things of myself before so when we started to post it was really weird. When I had like 200 people follow, I remember being like wow this is crazy people followed me. It kind of made me post more, so I started posting a workout video in the morning and a picture at night and that is when things just started to grow and get to where they are now. I never thought even a thousand people would follow let alone millions. It has been the craziest experience of my life and something that I am so grateful for.
You inspire a lot of people with your hard and effective workouts; do you follow any specific training and/or diet program?
I have found the best results by incorporating a mixture of different training styles. My goal was always to build muscle and be lean, but once I started training, I realized I enjoyed pushing myself to lift heavy weights. I have used a method that is a traditional bodybuilding style mixed with powerlifting elements. I have always stuck to “old school” movements such as T-Bar rows, squats, bent over rows, bench press, deadlifts, etc. I have always combined higher rep schemes for size with really low rep schemes for certain movements to build strength.
On a daily basis, you share motivational videos and photos. Where do you get your own inspiration from?
Motivation is constantly changing for me. When I started working out, I was just selfish in wanting to look good. As time went on, I began to realize how much better I felt mentally and realized this is something I truly love doing and want to work out for the rest of my life. After I started an Instagram and was lucky enough to receive some good feedback my motivation has changed. Not only do I want to live the longest healthiest life I can but I never dreamed of being able to motivate or help out anyone. That idea alone is what keeps me going when I feel a little down or lazy. The people who support me have truly changed my life and perspective. Something I could never repay them for.
Which muscle group do you think is the most fun to train and which one is your favorite exercise?
I love training back. Mostly because there are so many different exercises to hit while you are trying to grow a complete back look. One of my favorite exercises for back is T-bar rows. It is not an exercise you see too many people doing anymore but it is always something I try to hit while training. I also really love the flat bench press. It is just a fun way to lift and try to get strong at!
How can BCAAs aid in workout recovery and when do you recommend consuming them?
BCAAs can stimulate the synthesis of protein and help suppress the breakdown of muscle protein. They can also help aid in the inflammation from exercising that may help in muscle soreness. Since BCAAs can help in muscle breakdown it is good to consume them not only after your workout but on a daily supplement type basis. I like drinking a caffeinated NOCCO before/during my workout and having a non-caffeinated can after as well to make sure my recovery is fueled to maximize my protein synthesis.
What benefits have you experienced in adding BCAAs/caffeine to your workouts?
I love using caffeine and BCAAs for my workouts because not only am I getting a boost in energy from the caffeine, but I know I am also getting an energy push from the BCAAs when my glucose levels drop to help my muscles keep pushing!
How do you unwind post-workout to maximize recovery and reduce muscle damage and soreness?
First thing is making sure I get a post meal in to help repair the muscle breakdown. This is where I always add in BCAAs and hydration to make sure I am using everything to help my body repair itself from the workout.
Do you have any hobbies outside of the gym?
I have a lot of things I love doing other than working out. I love doing construction projects. Since I used to flip homes it is just in me to want to create things and make little projects around the house. I also love fashion. I am constantly cutting and sewing clothes to fit better and look edgier.
Finally, we of course have to ask, which is your favorite NOCCO?
I have two right now. I love to drink the Miami NOCCO before my workout to get the caffeine benefit and I use the Green Apple NOCCO late in the day for added BCAAs.